|Dear ATC Readers,
The Rhino Charge 2017 held on Saturday (June 3rd) in Songa Conservancy, Marsabit County,raised a record KES 153,499,914.
This beat last year’s figure of KES 139 million by adding another KES 14 million to secure the new all-time record.
The event was won by Gray Cullen (The Smiling Shenzies) in Car 22 being the only team which managed to visit all the 13 guard posts against all odds as required by the event rules.
The highest fundraiser was Peter Kinyua (Car 23), who raised KES 15,553,311. Kinyua is the Chairman of the Kenya Forest Service. This is the highest ever figure raised by an individual competitor in a year since the Rhino Charge was established in 1989. He broke last year’s record of KES 14.5 million by Stanley Kinyanjui of Car 62 (Magnate Chargers).In second and third positions were Peter Bonde Nielsen (Car 64) with KES 8,839,850 and Alan McKittrick (Car 5) with KES 6,924,370, respectively.
David Lowe, Clerk of the Course, said: “The Rhino Charge is primarily a fundraising event for the conservation of Kenya’s prime mountain forests and key sources of water. Its overall mission is to help secure the future of this nation and the well-being of the people of Kenya”.
The Rhino Charge raffle established to assist fundraising efforts of the competitors was very successful with 94 prizes up for grabs. The main prize, 2 return tickets to Diani by Air Kenya Express and 2 nights for 2 at Flamboyant together with dinner at Ali Barbours was won by Alykhan Fazal of Car 18.
Speaking during the prize-giving ceremony yesterday, Christian Lambrechts, Executive Director of Rhino Ark thanked competitors for securing sponsorships for their cars and succeeded in “raising funds to a level never reached before”.
He highlighted that “Rhino Ark team worked round the clock during the last year to deliver on the ground a much more expanded conservation programme in the three largest of the five main water towers of the country, namely Aberdare, Mt Kenya and Mau”.
The Land Access Fee totaling KES 4.4 million was raised from vehicle entry fees into the venue by all entrants. The funds will go to local conservation projects in the host conservancy.
The Ken Kuhle Trophy for services to conservation was awarded to David Njenga of Kenya Forest Service for his exemplary work in protecting forests in Mt Kenya. The trophy is named in honour of Ken Kuhle, one of the three founders of Rhino Charge.
The money raised during this event will go towards fencing Mt Kenya of which 155 has already been completed and South Western Mau, maintaining the 400km Aberdare fence and the 43.3km Eburu fence, as well as securing wildlife corridors linking these fenced ecosystems to dispersal areas .
“Thanks to the incredible fundraise efforts of the competitors and the support from our partners, we have to date built 155 km of the 450 km Mt. Kenya Electric Fence’, said Christian Lambrechts, Executive Director of Rhino Ark.
Regarding the work of the charity in the Mau Forests Complex, he noted that following the completion of the Eburu Electric fence in the Mau Forest Complex, “we are focusing on the securing of the wildlife corridor between Eburu and Lake Naivasha. Agreements have now been signed with the four companies owning the land in the corridor, and fencing of the corridor has been completed between Eburu and the Moi North Lake Road. Unique development in preparation is the building of a wildlife overpass above Moi North Lake Road. The Kenya Rural Road Authority has endorsed the overpass proposal and already lowered the road to provide for the required height.”
Rhino Ark is further expanding its interventions in the Mau Forests Complex, to address the challenges in the largest forest block of the complex, namely South Western Mau. “We will start this year work on the 45 km fence along the most vulnerable boundary of that forest. This is made possible thanks to the strong partnership established with the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative”, highlighted Lambrechts.
This year’s Charge event was promoted by Brand Kenya as a home-grown national initiative to address conservation challenges facing the country’s mountain forests.
Photographs of the event are accessible at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r7xgwtzr6adaigc/AAB0-hav4zxheSW2RalglWBLa?dl=0. For photo credits, use the file name.
The digital channels of the Rhino Charge and Rhino Ark are: